The team at Fleshjack has known for a while that their product is pretty recession proof—god knows there have been plenty of chances to prove the theory in the 14 years since the product first launched. But they were unprepared for the popular sex toy to also be pandemic proof.
In retrospect, they shouldn’t have been. With typical outlets for getting off curtailed by the nationwide lockdown, of course men would turn to the solace of the Fleshjack. But no one could have predicted that the day stimulus checks started dropping would see an increase in revenue so drastic that the team thought they’d been hacked.
All of this also proved an important point about the company for marketing director Daniel Harvell, who oversees both the 15-year-old Fleshlight (marketed to straight men) and Fleshjack (marketed to gay men): hook-up apps have been keeping Fleshjack sales lower than those of its straight counterpart.
“For years, we’ve theorized that our Fleshjack sales weren’t where we wanted them to be because of the hookup apps,” Harvell says. “And when you took that away from people and put gay men on an equal playing field as straight men, gay sales were through the roof. By the end of last year, Fleshjack was up 100 percent.”
Any sluggishness in pre-pandemic sales was certainly not a result of mediocre marketing. From the beginning Fleshlight and Fleshjack have embraced porn performers as models. “Almost all of them, when they’re interviewed, say they know they’ve made it in the industry when they’re asked to immortalize their anatomy,” Harvell says with a laugh. The first Fleshjack Boys? The Visconti Triplets. (Somewhere in a warehouse in Texas, there’s surely a very extensive archive of almost two decades of beloved but forgotten porn performers’ dicks and anuses.)
Harvell notes that the Fleshjack boys have a longer shelf life than their straight counterparts, pointing out that Brent Corrigan has consistently been one of the top sellers for close to a decade—until young Joey Mills launched his product, usurping Brent and taking the top slot.
So what makes a Fleshjack Boy? “We want them to have a recognizable name, a sizable social media following, and engagement with their fans,” Harvell says. “We were doing social media influencing before that was a term. That’s really what catapulted Fleshlight and Fleshjack, working with all of these stars. We have to have people who are engaged and somewhat smart about the ability to market themselves.”
And though Only Fans may be a viable way of earning a living, it may not automatically translate into making a content creator into a Fleshjack Boy.
“I am a firm believer that a studio isn’t necessary for them to make big money, but it does put them on a platform that is otherwise [unattainable],” Harvell says. “So the stars that we sign, the ones that are the most successful are usually attached to a studio.”
That being said, there are always exceptions. Harvell teases an upcoming Fleshjack Boy who is best known for Only Fans content, as well as 2018 Fleshjack Boy rapper Milan Christopher, who did not do porn but continues to be a bestseller.
Fleshlight has been celebrating 15 years of making men happy this year with a myriad of articles and celebrations—so what will Flshjack have in store for 2022, when we can (hopefully) gather together once again? Harvell points to the 10-year anniversary blowout in 2017 in Chicago, in conjunction with the Grabby Awards, where they brought in previous Fleshjack Boys for a party with a lot of the porn industry in attendance. “I;d love to do something along those lines next year,” Harvell admits. Celebrating both one of our favorite products and the ability to participate in mass gatherings again? Sounds like we finally have something to look forward to!